tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN October 12, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
beautifully-written stories. people want that more than ever. but they want it all. we're giving it to them. >> we're in the last five seconds. your book "the puppy diaries." the name of your dog before we go? >> scout. >> he is one of the loves of your life. >> it is a she. >> it's the one thing democrats and republicans agree on, the system is broken. no, not washington. not wall street either. it's the classroom. >> as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school. >> but one former governor thinks that he has the answer. you know his name and his famous family. >> it's been painful to see the people that you love be attacked when you know it's not fair or true. >> tonight, my exclusive with jeb bush, the former florida governor on fixing education and what comes next for him. you're not opposed to running
for president? >> no, i'm not. so, that creates that little opening that now the bloggers will all say stuff on. >> could america be ready for another bush in the white house? >> i mean, look, this is a time to serve. there's no question about it. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." governor, welcome. >> good to be here. >> i have to start, we'll come to education soon. but i have to start with last night's republican debate. what are your -- what's your view generally of these debates? how important are they right now? and what did you think of last night? >> i didn't see it because i was flying out to san francisco. but this morning, bright and early, i saw what other people thought of the debate. and first, i liked the fact that it was focused on the number one issue in the country. up until now, these debates have really -- a lot of the questions were really on marginal issues to try to divide the candidates, which is entertaining, i guess. but this gave the candidates a chance to speak kind of calmly, sitting down, in a way, about their views about economic growth. so, i thought that was good. and i continued to be impressed
with mitt romney's performance in these debates. he's cool, calm, collected. he's quick. he's agile. i think he could do well going up against president obama in the fall. >> he's consistent, isn't he? >> he's very consistent. and very disciplined and all the things that you would want in a candidate. and other candidates have moments where they've done extraordinarily well, as well. i'm proud of the entire field. >> are you edging towards an endorsement of mitt romney? i mean, chris christie came out yesterday, putting his not insignificant weight behind him. are you prepared to do this? >> i don't have as much weight behind me as chris christie. but i'm getting up there. you know, i'm going to weigh it. there's no urgency to this. i want a nominee that will win with purpose, that will win dealing with the long-term structural challenges that we face, with ideas to be able to deal with those things. and also, someone who can be effective against the incumbent president. >> it does seem like nobody else is going to put their hat in the ring now. >> it's a volatile time. iowa and new hampshire matter
disproportionately. a candidate could surge over the next three months. you know, it's not a foregone conclusion. that's why they have these things. it's a little masochistic for candidates to run for office. but at the end of the day, whoever wins, goes through the gauntlet, will be a stronger candidate in the fall of next year. so, i'm not -- first of all, i'm not presumptuous to think that my endorsement's going to matter a whole lot. and secondly, i don't have any timetable to get involved. >> whoever the candidate is, what do you think will be the key qualities and assets they need to beat barack obama? will the election be almost solely about the economy now, do you think? >> i think, as it stands right now, yes. but, you know, last night, who would have thought that the iranian government may be implicated in the assassination of a saudi ambassador to the united states using the mexican drug cartel? >> what do you make of that? i got off a plane from london and thought i was being wound up by my office. i thought it was some sort of elaborate hoax.
>> i was hopeful the next bond movie was coming out soon. so, my first inclination was this was a prequel to a movie. but, in fact, it's very serious. so, there could be ten things like that between now and the election. right now the economy is what concerns the american people. and so, therefore, having a long-term strategy to deal with the structural challenges we face and to lift the pessimism that exists in our country. i mean, people in europe used to, i always -- when i went to europe, they always made fun of the united states or americans for being naively optimistic. don't have that problem anymore. >> not an allegation you're getting very often in europe. no one in europe is very positive. >> people are moping around. and i think campaigns can be about lifting the spirits of the american people. so, the candidate that i hope will win the republican nomination will be specific about the plans that are necessary to restore a confidence in economic growth and psychologically, if you will, to lift the spirits of the american people, and kind of get our animal spirits up and going again. >> just to mention the bush
family, just generally. you're a positive bunch, aren't you? and for good reason, too, because you've had presidents already. and you may join at a later day. how does america get more positive, given this malaise at the moment, which shows no sign of diminishing at all. in fact, may get worse. what should american politicians be doing? >> i think have a sense of history, for starters. we've had times of incredible turmoil in our country, not that long ago. in the '30s, certainly, world war ii. certainly in the late '70s and early '80s. there were times in the early '80s that interest rates were approaching 20%. inflation was 13%. unemployment is as high as it is today. and president reagan came and had a tangible plan. but he also spoke to the aspirations of people. and i think, you know, it can be just a catalyst, a spark to change what's going on. but i think we've got to get away from the short-term food fight and focus on the fact
that, in order for the united states to move forward, we have to take advantage of what's special about our country. and that means, we need to deal with our structural problems of education, take advantage of our natural resources in our own country that we don't exploit now, like every other country in the world. focus on training people for the jobs that may not exist today that will. a tax code that rewards achievement. and an embrace of capitalism. right now people seem to be very tentative about the positive benefits of capitalism. >> i went out last night in san francisco here, about five blocks away from where we are now. there was their version of occupy wall street going on. demonstrations here, spreading all over america. not entirely surprising, given the state of the economy. you support their right to protest? >> oh, yeah, absolutely. i think the bigger issue for me is, how do you create a suite of reforms to restore long-term, sustained, economic growth? because if we don't grow, there's no possible way that you're going to create
meaningful jobs of purpose, jobs that allow an independent life. we can talk about it, we can redistribute wealth, we can, you know, have a ledger count that kind of moves back and forth between who gets what and all that. but if you're not growing the pie, there's no possible way that the kind of jobs that people want that are protesting and people in their own homes are going to be able to get. >> do you feel uneasy that so many people on wall street made so much money in the good times, whether they were criminally minded or not, remains to be seen. there are still some investigations going on. but certainly woefully irresponsible, causing ordinary americans, you know, less well off americans to really suffer now. that many of those people, be them a big bankers, goldman sachs and so on, the moment they got bailed out, almost within a few months, began rewarding themselves with great, fat bonuses again. >> yeah. when there were cases like that, it politically showed a tone deafness that's quite remarkable. i would say the bigger story, as it relates to the real estate collapse in the united states, is twofold.
one, the government was an accomplice to this. government policies, both with freddie and fannie, and both parties were an accomplice to this. >> so, we should blame your brother, basically? >> well, we do that all the time. but not in this particular case. in fact, they tried to reform it. but there was the democratic-controlled congress, in this case, fought back. this started long before my brother got there. and it's not to blame anything. it's just saying the government was an accomplice to the collapse. and secondly, if the real estate collapse is the problem that we -- that created the downturn that we're all still suffering from, then why not create policies to deal with that? and yet, ironically, strangely enough, there hasn't been efforts by the president or congress to deal with this. in fact, the dodd/frank bill, 2,350 pages or something like that, with hundreds of rule-making processes right now, left aside freddie and fannie. makes -- it's kind of like an
"alice in wonderland" logical tour for the americans to scratch their heads in wonderment about this. but it's this disconnect, i think, in washington that i would say is something that people need to focus on. >> i certainly think that, at the moment, if you look at it, there's no real structure in place to prevent a lot of the similar problems happening again. that's what concerns people. is that america's still teetering in recession, may well go into a double-dip. most people predicting the worst at the moment. europe is collapsing. there are serious global issues here. do you feel confident that enough is being done to prevent that? >> you know, i think our banks are stronger today than they were in september of 2008. and they're certainly stronger in terms of their capital ratios compared to the european banks. we didn't -- the regulators did force the banks to raise capital faster than other parts of the world. but this is -- this is a tenuous situation. and we're living in really volatile times.
so, i'm not smart enough to know what the future holds. >> does it feel weird to be -- to feel vulnerable, as an american? do you think it's kind of anti the culture of the country? >> it feels -- when you travel to asia, particularly, you know, you get this spirit of optimism that's quite remarkable. and also a feeling that they look at us and kind of say, you know, poor older brother, you know, your days are behind you. >> yeah. >> so, i feel more anger than anything else, because i don't believe it's necessarily the case. we have incredible abundant natural resources. yet, we spend $300 billion a year writing checks without job creation, investment, taxes on that investment. by not exploiting our own resources, we go to places that are either hostile to us or vulnerable. we have, in our dna, the ability to absorb people from all over the world, allow them to embrace
american values and create aspirations that create benefits for all of us, yet we are focused exclusively on this very tricky problem of border control, and we can't get beyond it. we have a tax code that makes us dependent upon government, when americans do better when we're, you know, when the rules of engagement are clear and transparent. but there's not, like, rules on how you're supposed to be successful in business. >> and key to all of this, if you don't mind me jumping in, is presumably the area you're most concerned about. >> i'm glad we're getting there. my last point. >> when we come back from the break, i want to get into why it matters so much to you, why it's so important to america, and what barack obama should be doing but he's not. can i help you? yeah, can i get a full-sized car? forfor convertibles, please stepress star one.ing menu. i didn't catch that. to speak to a representative, please say representative now. representative. goodbye!
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. the department of education. because the constitution does not specifically enumerate, nor does it give to the federal government, the role and duty to superintend over education that historically has been held by the parents and by local communities and by state government. >> governor, let's turn to education. you're known as the education governor, because you put such a premium on this. why has education always been your great passion? >> well, i think i learned it at my mama's knee to start with.
i was blessed to have a mother and a father that recognized the value of education. particularly my mom. she taught us to read as early as i could remember. so, i've always had an interest in learning. as governor, i saw the link between economic prosperity and the ability to acquire knowledge. that knowledge, now, is really the decider for people's future, more than family structure or anything else. so if we can get it right, we give the chance for the next generation to live lives of purpose and live independent lives that can allow them to pursue their dreams. that's not happening enough in the united states today. >> does it worry you, when you see the dwindling literacy rates, say, from average americans, compared to someone like china or other emerging countries, quite frightening, isn't it? >> it's very frightening. it's incredibly frightening. and the complacency is quite troubling to me personally, which is why i do dedicate a lot of my time, and try to give people a sense of why this is important. just income levels, the strength
of communities. there's a direct link between the educate -- the percentage of young people that are educated and how we live our lives. it's not conjecture. it is a fact. and yet, a third of our kids graduate from high school, even though we spend more per student than any country in the world, a third of our kids graduate from high school, college, and/or career-ready. a third graduate, say, hey, i'm a college graduate. but when they go to community college or college, they have to take remedial courses. >> and to compound that, they also, many of them, end up with crippling debts, which is so -- and not quite where they should be anyway. and they're in debt. this whole system, it seems, from almost start to finish, is deeply flawed. why has it got to this? why has nobody really got to grips with this? >> i think our country has rested on its laurels. the things we've relied on culturally and politically and economically, we have not
adjusted them to the new realities. the new realities are technology has changed our lives forever, the world's moving faster. we're in a globalized economy. we have new challenges economically that ever we could have imagined a generation ago. and yet, the institutions, mostly public, that we've asked to be able to equip us have been mired in the past. you can go to a class today, and instead of a chalkboard, you may have a whiteboard. it might be connected to the internet. but it's organized exactly as it was 50 years ago. so, the foundation i'm involved in is focused on trying to bring structural change to allow a thousand flowers to bloom, not just one. i don't believe in top-down driven strategies here. but we need transformation so that we can try many, many different things. >> i mean, there is, i think, a real disconnect between teachers and parents now, and the way most young kids are reading and learning from the internet. >> that gap can be closed. that's not a huge challenge.
we can train teachers to be able to deliver higher quality content. we -- teachers can use adaptive technologies to be able to customize the learning experience for students. this is not rocket science. but it does require substantial change in law, 50 states, requiring changes in laws, to be able to make it flourish. >> we heard michele bachmann there talking about a relationship between state funding and federal funding and so on. this is a big hot potato issue, obviously. but where do you stand on this? i mean, how much of a state education system should be driven federally? and how much should be driven from the state? >> well, today, it's anywhere from 8% to 10%. historically, it's been 6%. and so -- >> what do you think is the optimum? >> where it is today is fine, in terms of the relevance of education. >> so, that's not a big issue, as far as -- >> no, it isn't. >> what are the keys -- you're the guy that fixed it in florida.
many people laude you as the example. they've copied you. what are the key, simple ways that other states, and therefore america, collectively, can get to grips with this corrosive education system? >> a focus on early childhood literacy, so the children come prepared to learn. the elimination of social promotion, particularly in third grade, when students are beginning to acquire knowledge, and fourth grade. so, you don't just pass them along. more school choice to bring pressure on the system, so that parents are more empowered and engaged in their students' learning. and that there's a consequence through greater accountability between mediocrity and improvement and abject failure and excellence. the embrace of technology, and then, rewarding teachers for student learn, rather than longevity of service. and moving away -- >> that longevity of is service is so antiquated. the idea that teachers can be useless, but because they've just been there 20, 30 years,
you can't get rid of them. so, you get rid of a very bright, dynamic teacher simply because he came in too late. it's absurd. >> i was on another national television show a couple of weeks ago, cory booker, a great guy, mayor of newark. he told the story of a school he had to visit. and the principal was bemoaning the fact that they had two young teachers that had to be laid off, to protect teachers that had been there longer, but may not have been as good. if you want students to learn, the teachers have to be there that make it happen. our system rewards longevity, some longer-term serving teachers do a fantastic job, some don't. why wouldn't we be more focused on rewarding the best teachers based on learning gains of the students? >> do the teachers' unions get this, do you think? or is this still, again, a very old-fashioned sense of what a union should be doing? >> this is like one of those fights in the previous segment, i believe, that it's the transition from kind of the old
'70s way of doing things to the 21st century way of doing things. some teacher unions get it. a lot don't. they're comfortable with doing what they've been set out to do. they're organized around economic benefits for the adults. al schanker, who was a great teacher union leader, said that when children start paying me dues, i'll start representing them. so, we shouldn't be surprised that they're focused on, you know, making sure that the economic benefits are protected. on the other hand, though, you know, great teachers don't -- aren't just union members. they're dedicated to making sure that students learn. and so, a lot of states now, florida, indiana, illinois, led by democrats, oklahoma, other states, have begun to move towards pay for performance, in essence, and eliminating these lifetime protections. >> when we come back from the
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is a ponzi scheme. i think the problem is keeping it from becoming a perry scheme. because governor perry -- governor perry says that it's unconstitutional. and we should end it as a federal program and give it back to the states. >> governor, obviously, the presidential race heating up. the election is within a year. they say all roads lead to florida, in the presidential election. and that normally involves you at some stage. for the last 20, 30 years, you've been at the forefront of florida politics. what's the trick to being successful in florida, if you're a republican candidate right now? >> well, florida's an incredible -- it's purple, it's very purple. it's not red or blue. it's right in the middle. it's transitional. so, people are moving in and out more than most states. and it's unique. i mean, it's a diversity. it's a mirror image of the country. there's not one thing that you can do. but you can't ignore it. you can't ignore it because, you know, it will decide, probably, who the next president will be. it's been that way now for three or four elections. so, my advice to republican
candidates is to be there, to listen, and to persuade people about what want to do. i don't think there's any specific issues that are unique to florida. we have a disproportionately high elderly population. but, you know, my experience has been that our elders are interested in the future, perhaps even more than younger people. they really do care about what the future looks like for the country. >> i've got to ask you, because i can't ask anybody else in the world. what's it like having a brother and a dad who have both been president of the united states? >> it's different. i mean -- >> only about four people can answer that question, in history. >> i don't know if john quincy adams had a son. but -- or a brother, excuse me. it's been interesting to have a front row seat, watching history unfold. it's been painful to see people you love being attacked when you know it's not fair or true. >> it must be, occasionally,
almost unbearable pressure to be in a family where not one, but two of them have been president. hard for everybody. >> hard personally. hard to watch it and know, you know, love your -- i'm not objective. i'm not like some kind of objective analyst, a talking head on television, about my -- about my dad or my brother. so, that part was hard. but it was fantastic to see them up close, making decisions. and see how focused -- my dad, particularly, because my children were his first grandchildren. and they -- even though, you know, he was in the midst of preparing for "operation desert storm," for example, he would not miss the opportunity to be a great granddad. he's an extraordinary guy. and so is my brother. >> is that key to being president? do you have to have that ability to cope with huge pressure, but also have the family, the balance? >> absolutely. i remember, we were gathered right before "operation desert
storm" in whatever, '91, i guess. and he had made the decision, and no one -- we couldn't talk about it. this was during christmas at camp david. and you could see the weight on his shoulders. i mean, it is not an easy thing to send young men and women off to war. and it was clear to me, at least, i didn't talk to him about it. but i thought he had already made the decision. and so, it was just a time of love. and i think -- >> that's an extraordinary thing to witness, isn't it? >> we didn't talk about it. so, it wasn't like -- >> talk about elephant in the room. my god, on christmas. put on another cracker, dad. >> it's the way it is. it was about our faith and about the grandkids and about our children. and we, you know, we worked out and we played wally ball, which, with the marines. we did stuff like that. camp david is a wonderful place to take the stress out. but you can't take the stress out of making that kind of decision. and i know george went through the exact same thing.
>> what was the hardest moment for you with george's presidency? because it became very divisive. but i recently read his book, "decision points." and what was fascinating was how much huge things he was hit with. not just 9/11 and so on. but huge, massive amounts of pressure. what was the biggest thing for you? >> i would say in the second term, the turning against him because of the war was difficult. and the pounding he took and the resolute nature of staying the course, and really, almost as though the white house stopped trying to defend and just said, we're going to grind it out, which made it really hard. >> was that the right thing to do? >> no. my personal belief is, you've got to fight for your beliefs. you have to communicate. you have to persuade. and, you know, again, i'm not an objective political observer here. i wanted someone to be doing that on a regular basis because
my brother was taking a pounding, personally, you know, from a poll perspective, he never recovered from. and it wasn't justified. because when he stayed the course, and then implemented the surge, the policy was effective. so, it was hard to see that. i don't know why it was that there wasn't -- maybe it was just, you know, it was not possible to even make a difference. so, they just decided to execute on a policy that would work. >> he's very smartly, i think, avoided too much media. let his book do the talking. it was very specifically done, the book. it was about decision points. and i think it was clever of him to do that. and actually, you can tell that, already, his legacy and the reputation is beginning to improve. i mean, people are beginning to review those decisions in a better light. >> yeah. and i think it's a memoir that's not a memoir. it's a -- it's a more humble way to present your life. to be able to say, i had these points in my life where i had to
make a decision and here's how i made it. rather than, me, me, me, i, i, i, a big, long book about what a wonderful person i am. there's a lot of people that do that. this was an interesting book because it was more a book about how to make a decision than how to lead. and also, a book where it wasn't all revising the results. i mean, some things work. some things didn't. >> is he happy now? does he miss being president? >> i'm sure he misses the white house, misses the service. but he's very happy. and he's got unbelievable discipline to keep his mouth shut and to stay out of the way. let -- as you said, let history be the judge. >> when we come back after this break, i'll ask the question that if i asked your brother and your father this question, i suspect that they would both say yes. and that question is should you, jed bush, become the third bush to run for president? 'd do that?
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>> the no child left behind act was just on paper, such a good idea. and you know, hard to argue against the theory behind it. and yet, it hasn't been pursued. it hasn't been developed. of course, one way of making sure it was, and your brother's legacy in education would be if you, jed bush, chucked your considerable hat into the ring. >> well, that's not going to happen. but no child left behind played a key role, first of all, something that's so unusual now, it was supported on a bipartisan basis. it wasn't that long ago when actually democrats and republicans voted in support of things in the interest of the country. and this was one of them. it helped states that were really not on the path of accountability to begin to get on it, and create a sense of urgency for particularly children in the lowest performing schools and the lowest performing students got more attention than ever before because of it. now, it needs to be modified, i think, to reflect the new
realities. and president obama's trying to do that. but there's a -- you know, there's this disconnect in washington that is troubling. it's not just education. it's across the board. so, education policy, there is a role for the federal government, it's limited. it's to provide carrots and sticks for the kind of policies that will yield a good result. clearly, we don't want washington becoming the superintendent of the schools or dominant in education policy. that would be an abject failure. >> does it have to have a kind of ethical and moral lead, don't they? there has to be, from the top, a view of, this is the kind of education i want every american to strive for. that's what i'm not sensing at the moment. >> yeah, i would say that education should be of national purpose, not a national program. >> it should be a national priority. >> it is a national priority, and something of huge importance, that the president, i think, has a role to shake the complacency about why this is important.
it's important culturally, it's important economically, it's important for our own national security interests. >> both your brother and your father have hinted that they would have no objection to another bush in the white house. and a lot of your fans out there say, well, why wouldn't you run for president? you've got all the credentials the republican party could possibly wish for. one of the reasons why no one, so far, has emerged as the standout candidate, is everybody's been waiting for someone just like you to say, you know what? my country needs me. >> well, i'm not presumptuous to think that i'm the solution to anything. and i think we have great candidates. and my expectation is that i'll be working for the re-election of a republican incumbent four years from now. this was not the time for me, personally, for reasons that don't relate to politics. it may have been the time for me politically to do it, but not personally. and so i made the decision -- >> why not personally? >> well, because it's personal. >> that's a good answer. >> and it is personal. and that's what it is.
and i made that decision early. >> but politically, you accept that it could be you -- >> it would have -- i've already made up my mind. it would have been a time. look, this is a time to serve. there's no question about it. but it's just not in the cards for me personally. it had nothing to do with my brother's legacy or anything like that. that's the standard. you know, the talking heads in washington generally say, well, it's because of george that jeb can't run. what a shame. and that's just bogus. >> can you see yourself running in the future? >> i can -- >> isn't it like a calling for you bushes now? >> no, it isn't. let me tell you, my dream was to be governor of the state of florida. i ran in '94 and -- >> you've done that. >> -- came in second. >> that's done. >> but those were what my ambitions were. and i don't feel like there's some weird part of the dna of -- of the bush family that you have to be compelled to run for president. >> could you imagine a scenario? this is purely hypothetical.
>> it is. and that's the problem with it. >> say barack obama wins the next election, and you come under ever-more pressure to run, because there are -- all the other candidates have already put themselves through this campaign. could you see the situation where the personal reasons, which i won't press you on, but where those would go away enough for you to consider running perhaps in 2016? >> that's pure -- that's just hypothetical, so i can't answer. >> you're not opposed to running for president? >> i'm not. and that creates that little opening that all the bloggers will all say stuff on. but the conservative party as that huge bench with a lot of talented people. and my guess is should that hypothetical situation take place, which i'll doubt that it will happen, that there'll be a whole new group of energetic, young leaders that will lead the party. >> you don't imagine one day just walking into the oval office -- >> let's move to digital learning. >> and like everybody else who happened to walk in there, you can say, dad, brother, i made
it. when we come back after the break, we'll bring in your partner in all of this, west virginia governor bob wise. and he's been helping you with the schools, particularly in the area of digital. ♪ sent her back to college for her sophomore year ♪ ♪ co-signed her credit card -- "buy books, not beer!" ♪ but the second that she shut the door ♪ ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for her whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪
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we're also honored to be joined here today, by another champion of education reform. somebody who championed reform when he was in office, somebody who is now championing reform as a private citizen, jeb bush. >> i'm back with former governor of florida, jeb bush, and former west virginia governor, bob wise. you two are partners in crime, forgive the phrase -- >> partners in progress, we hope. >> partners in progress. that's the phrase i was looking for. tell me about this. there are a few initiatives that are going on right now. tell me what the big game plan is here with this. >> we partnered together. he created the digital learning council, which was 100 leaders across the country. we came up with ten elements of a high-quality digital learning system, a road map for every state, made it easy to understand. and of course, now, the governor is getting ready to announce his road map, as well. but between what he has done, his road map for reform, the digital learning principles, the ten quality element -- ten elements of a high-quality
digital learning system. and we've all now come to a point now where we've able to have, for the first time ever, a national digital learning day. we're announcing it right here, but this will be february -- >> is this a scoop? >> this is your scoop. >> tell me all about it. >> educational exclusive. the first national digital learning day, february the 1st, 2012, where we're encouraging teachers and educators across the nation to either showcase what they're already doing in digital learning, online learning, software application, whatever it is that's working. as well as those schools and teachers and educators that aren't using digital learning, what can you do that day to promote it? >> some of this, governor bush, does the modern technology help kids learn better and faster than the old-fashioned technology? >> i believe that passionately. and i believe that you can customize the learning experience. so, the old way was a teacher in front of 25 students. seat time dominated the experience.
180 days and you're out. now, using technology, you can learn at your own pace, in your own way, and you can maximize and customize the learning experience. so, a teacher then becomes kind of a partner in this, a manager. and there's greater accountability for students to learn. >> let's talk about competition in schools because i have a big thing about this. in britain, they banned egg and spoon races one day. which i found utterly disgusting. so, you couldn't have an egg and spoon race, because some poor child might lose. and they have to come to terms with not winning everything. what is your view about competition, whether it's sporting or academic, in schools in america? >> i think -- >> are you in favor of egg and spoon races? >> i am. i think we need to work that from wherever it comes from. >> it's actually good. you have a boiled egg on a spoon and you race each other. and if you drop it, you're out. >> we should have competition. that's what life looks like after you get out. schools ought to be about preparing students for the world they're moving into. >> governor, i want to ask you about bad teachers. a lot of parents say to me, we need to get rid of bad teachers, particularly if they can't move with the times. you know.
when you watch china, india, brazil, emerging big, potential superpowers now. they're driving, driving, driving. they have the best teachers. students are rising to this new challenge. but in america, still, as in many european countries, there's this quaint, old-fashioned notion that you're a teacher for life, however bad you are. >> and we ought to focus on getting rid of the bad teachers. and i think some of the prohibitions against doing that have gone away. what is more significant is we have to train and recruit a lot of good teachers. we are going to lose a million teachers over the next few years. a lot of the teachers that are leaving could have been good teachers. what can we build in to the system, get the bad out. but i'm interested in making sure we bring the good ones in. when we look at high-performing nations we see an emphasis on recruiting from the beginning. teachers bringing in and supporting them.
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trying to figure out the link between competitiveness, warren buffett and the death penalty. allow me to explain. one of the key people involved in all things budgetary, tax headlines and so forth, is warren buffett. today he revealed his income for 2010, $62 million, of which $39 million was taxable income. going to his point, which is he wants to pay more tax, "a," is he right? "b," would that help directly with things like your initiatives in education? what do you think? >> think he's wrong. state funding is what drives state education plans and in the great majority. so, if warren buffett believes he's undertaxed, he can voluntarily give money to the federal government. there's nothing that stops him from doing that. my fear is that we create a society where there aren't going to be anymore warren buffetts.
there are 30 warren buffetts in omaha, nebraska, that haven't made it. but they have the drive to do it. if you make it more difficult for the aspirational people, not worried about warren but the next generation of warren buffetts. i think it is the wrong policy. that's my personal view. it won't impact. digital learning can be done at a lower cost, with higher value. that's where it will ultimately work out. >> governor wise? >> i happen to agree with warren buffett on the tax. having said that, what the other thing that warren buffett has talked about and where governor bush and i come together and agree is the importance of education. there are 30 more potential warren buffetts in omaha and across the country. and as a recent study showed if you cut the dropout rate in half you would save the federal treasury $5 billion a year. the best economic stimulus package in the country is a diploma. in terms of state budgets, state budgets have been stagnant for years. they're going to stay that way for the next several years.
we can't continue to do business the same way. i think warren buffett would say i am going to buy the company. but i have to turn it around and introduce the technology that will truly make it productive. >> governor bush, this question has nothing to do with education and i struggle to find any link with it. however, it is an interesting story of the day and you have both been governors. so, i want to ask you this. do you know how many people you both executed? >> i think during eight years, i've probably -- i'm going to be off a little bit. i probably executed about 50 people. >> none, because west virginia does not have the death penalty. >> an interesting question for you. today a cnn poll came out that said americans are moving toward not wanting executions, following troy davis exposure and so on. what's your view? you have had to go through this. >> this is the hardest thing a governor has to do, at least in my mind. it is in conflict with my faith, as well. i sorted it out because i had a duty to uphold the constitution. but i wasn't happy about signing death warrants and participating
in the process. and i took that part of my job really seriously. having said that, i also met with the family members of these most heinous crimes were given the death penalty. and the family members wanted justice. in our system right now because of the clogging up of the courts justice is denied it is a frustrating situation. >> if you had the decision, if you were the president of the united states, would you try now to stop the death penalty? >> no. that's a state-by-state issue. i don't think there's a constitutionality question at the federal level for this. >> as somebody who's never been in that position. >> i feel fortunate i have never had to be in that situation. we had life without parole. >> 17 people on death row in america have been released after fresh dna evidence proved they had nothing to do with the crime. when i hear statistics like that, and over 100 more have been released after new information.
>> well, the former governor of illinois a number of years ago stopped all executions because of that. but if i could get back to -- maybe we can get back to education because the dna. >> how are you going to link it to education? >> because dna is modern technology and it is making a difference in improving how we are able to judge something or determine something or implement. and so it is that we need to make sure we recognize technology in all aspects, including education. >> it's been a fascinating debate about education with both of you the last hour. let me ask you finally in five years time, if we were to reconvene, what's the one thing you would most like to have achieved with all the initiatives you are going in? governor bush? >> consistently higher graduation rates. greater focus on the fundamentals of education so that young people are prepared to be college and career ready. >> i agree totally. that's why we work together so much on this.